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World Serious!

When did the Dodgers win their first World Serious in LA?

Ugh! My ‘hood was without power for over 10 hours yesterday.

Early Vote in Person for the state constitutional amendments, the H-Town City bonds and HISD and HCC trustee races begin today.

Here is from the Chron on HISD District 1 Trustee candidate Gretchen Himsl, Commentary’s client:

Gretchen Himsl, 46, is a policy analyst for Children at Risk, an education and child-welfare advocacy nonprofit, where she has worked since October 2016. She previously served as a staff member for the Texas House Appropriations Committee.

Her primary issues include improving education outcomes for children through higher graduation and reading comprehension rates, setting a sustainable budget that puts more money in classrooms faster and rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey in a more equitable manner.

“I have policy experience going back quite a ways,” Himsl said. “I’ve been trained to look at systemic programs through the lens of equity and sustainable government.”

Gretchen is supported by current District 1 Trustee Anna Eastman, City Council member Karla Cisneros and former HISD Trustees Paula Arnold and Cathy Mincberg – all who live in District 1.

Who would have thought?

After being down 3-2 after the 3 in the Bronx.

Carol believed! Laura believed! Two cool and fabulous people and fans that I sat with this past weekend at The Yard. The Yard was rocking like I have never seen before. H-Town certainly has ‘Stros fever.

This is all class from Ashley Varela from NBC Sports:

Following the conclusion of the American League Championship Series on Saturday night, there was a heartfelt moment between the two managers. According to the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Joe Girardi hung around the clubhouse in order to congratulate A.J. Hinch. “I know it’s your first time through,” Girardi told the Astros’ skipper. “Go win it all.”

It’s a classy move on Girardi’s part. Had the Yankees advanced on Saturday, it would have marked his second trip to the World Series in eight years. He helped the team through their last championship run back in 2009 and knows the intricacies of the postseason better than most other managers in this year’s playoff bracket. His words were warmly received by Hinch, who said it was a “lesson for him” and “one of the classiest things he’d seen from one manager to another.”

Girardi wasn’t the only one who had kind words for his opponents on Saturday. Brett Gardner also voiced his support for Houston, telling reporters, “My hat goes off to those guys over there, and I wish them the best of luck in the World Series.” Aaron Judge described the series as “a lot of fun,” crediting both the Astros and the electric crowds in Yankee Stadium and Minute Maid Park for keeping the series challenging and exciting.

From the Chron:

The Astros’ clinching victory Saturday night in the American League Championship Series was the most-watched program in the history of FS1, with an average audience of 9.924 million viewers, and had an audience of 10.5 million on FSI, Fox Deportes and Fox Sports Go.

The Spanish-language telecast added 445,000 viewers, and the streaming audience averaged 152.748 minutes per viewer.

The seven-game series averaged 6.5 million viewers on Fox television and FS1 for the largest ALCS viewing audience since 2013.

Game 7 also was the most-viewed LCS telecast on any network since 11.6 million for a Giants-Phillies game in 2010. For the entire postseason, Fox is averaging 5.1 million viewers, flat with last year’s numbers that included the Cubs’ NLCS victory.

The Dodgers won their first World Serious in LA back in 1959 of course over the White Sox in 6 games.

The cheapest ticket for sale on Stub Hub right now for Friday’s game is $550 for standing room only.

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Elimination Game

Tonight is an elimination game in the MLB playoffs. We win and we stay alive. We lose and we’re done.

What is our record in MLB playoff elimination games?

Let me get the non-MLB stuff out of the way.

Commentary is not going to say much about Donald Trump’s chief-of-staff appearing before the press yesterday. He only did so because Trump s__t all over himself on Monday in politicizing the issue of calling Gold Star families.

Early Vote in Person starts on Monday and Commentary is starting to get some mail – five pieces so far – I think.

Let’s remember this about the ALCS. The Yankees won the three played at their crib and we’ve won the two at our crib.

Here is what the Chron’s Jake Kaplan says today:

With their backs against the wall, the Astros have called on Justin Verlander to save their season.

Their ace of only seven weeks has been in this position.

“This is why I’m here,” he said Thursday.

Friday night’s Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees will be Verlander’s fifth career start in a potential postseason elimination game. During the Detroit Tigers’ last best run, when they made the ALCS or World Series in three consecutive Octobers from 2011-13, do-or-die games like this were reckoned with annually.

Verlander will take the Minute Maid Park mound Friday with a 1.48 ERA in his four career elimination games. In three of those previous four, his Tigers won. The defeat came in Game 5 of the 2006 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, when a 23-year-old Verlander was charged with one earned run in six innings of a 4-2 loss.

In each of his last two elimination games, Verlander dominated. Both came against the Oakland Athletics in fifth games of a Division Series. In 2012, he struck out 11 and allowed only four hits in a complete-game shutout. The next year, he struck out 10 and held the A’s to two hits in eight scoreless frames.

That’s why he’s here.

We don’t do so hot when it comes to elimination games in our MLB playoff history.

In 1980, we lost Game 5 of the NLCS to the Phillies 8-7 in 10 innings and were done.

1981, lost Game 5 of the NLWDS to the Dodgers 4-0 – done.

1986, lost Game 6 of the NLCS to the Mets 7-6 in 16 – done.

1997, lost Game 3 of the NLDS to The ATL 4-1 – done.

1998, lost Game 4 of the NLDS to the Padres 6-1 – done.

1999, lost Game 4 of the NLDS to The ATL 7-5 – done.

2001, lost Game 3 of the NLDS to The ATL 6-2 – done.

2004, we WON Game 5 of the NLDS over The ATL 12-3 to advance.

2004, lost Game 7 of the NLCS to San Luis 5-2 – done.

2005, lost Game 4 of the World Serious to the White Sox 1-0 – done.

2015, won the AL Wild Card Game over the Yankees 3-0 to advance.

2015, lost Game 5 of the ALDS to the Royals 7-2 – done.

That’s a 2-10 record in MLB playoff elimination games of course.

In all fairness, with the exception of The Fish, MLB clubs lose more MLB playoff elimination games than they win. Got it?

If you are going to the game, try the METRO Rail. It’s free if you have a game ticket.

Let’s hope the bats come alive tonight.   Let’s hope we have a game tomorrow night.

Silent Bats

What is Justin Verlander’s career postseason won-loss pitching record?

A 15 to 2 H-Town City Council vote yesterday against the Mayor’s property tax rate proposal is all you need to know about how poorly it was handled and presented. Not even the Mayor’s twitter attack dogs could muster a tweet in support.

Here is from the Chron E-Board on yesterday’s vote:

Watching a talented quarterback bobble the ball on the one-yard line is exasperating, especially in an important game.

So it’s no surprise the city controller and council members this week were frustrated with Mayor Sylvester Turner. He had done a remarkable job of carrying the ball right up to the goal line; he has been on the verge of solving Houston’s potentially catastrophic pension problem. But days before voters begin casting their ballots on a related bond issue, Turner startled City Hall with an ill-timed proposal that would deny homeowners a small property tax cut.

The mayor wanted to sidestep the city’s revenue cap, which he’s allowed to do because Hurricane Harvey put the city under a federal disaster declaration. But the move generated needless controversy, and council members who fully support the pension plan were right to reject the proposal. Most important of all, voters must not let this distract them from supporting crucial bond issues on the ballot.

The revenue cap became a lightning rod for controversy when the mayor proposed basically suspending it and raising the tax rate by 8.9 percent in the wake of Harvey. But he pointedly suggested the tax hike wouldn’t be necessary if the state government would tap its Rainy Day Fund to help Houston pay disaster expenses. If the mayor hoped to pressure Gov. Greg Abbott into opening the state’s checkbook, the tactic worked. The governor bowed to intense criticism and presented Turner with a $50 million check to help fund the city’s disaster recovery effort. At that point, the mayor dropped his proposed property tax hike.

But on Monday, City Controller Chris Brown circulated a memo saying that the mayor once again planned to sidestep the revenue cap, which would have required a small cut in the property tax rate. Instead, the mayor intended to keep the tax rate at its current level for another year. The impact on taxpayers would have been negligible – the average homeowner would have paid another $7 next year – but it would have raise another $7.8 million for the city government.

The mayor argued that the city essentially did the same thing after floods in two previous years by including disaster relief expenses in its calculations. That surprised council members, who didn’t recall any similar controversy when they voted on the tax rate the last couple of years.

No doubt the city needs the money. The mayor’s property tax plan was perfectly legal and fiscally responsible. But its rollout was badly mishandled and the pointless controversy it generated couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Read-voters-lips-12289031.php.

City Council did what it had to do.

Bill King also has to do what he has to do. Here is what he has to say about the H-Town city bonds:

City Bond Election

Pension Bonds: YES

Improvement Bonds: NO 

As many of you are aware, the City will hold a bond election on November 7.  Early voting begins next Monday, October 23.  There will be five bond propositions (A-E).  The first (A) seeks approval to issue $1 billion in bonds to shore up the police and municipal pension plans.  The other four (B-E) are “improvement” bonds asking mostly for funding for the purchase of police and fire vehicles, and improvements to City parks, health clinics and libraries.  I intend to reluctantly vote for Proposition A and against Propositions B-E.

Go here for Bill’s explanation: https://www.facebook.com/BillKingForMayor.

Justin Verlander is 10-5 in his postseason career of course.

Verlander can’t do it by himself tomorrow night at The Yard. The bats have to wake up or else. Very good teams do not choke in the playoffs.   Silent bats don’t cut it. Show up tomorrow night.

The Statue Thing

We are going to have an ALCS Game 6 at The Yard Friday night. How have we fared in our three previous LCS’s Game 6?

It looks like the owner of the Texans will get a statue over at NRG Park. I really don’t have a problem with this as long as we start looking at how we put up statues on public property and start making the statue community a bit more diverse. Here is from the Chron:

Texans owner Robert McNair soon could loom a little larger at the county-owned NRG Park, with a statue of him likely headed for the stadium’s entrance.

First, however, the Harris County Sports and Convention Corp. must decide how to accept the privately donated statue for placement on public land.

The statue, first announced last year during the lead-in to Super Bowl LI and paid for by the local host committee’s fundraising efforts, is set to be placed at NRG Park.

The sports corporation board of directors is scheduled to discuss a “feasibility study” for erecting the statue of McNair, who has owned the team since its creation as an expansion team in 2002, at a meeting Wednesday.

Edgardo Colon, chairman of the sports corporation, said no public money will go toward the statue. The study is needed because the corporation has never faced the prospect of a privately donated statue for the site. Other statues were placed during the construction of NRG Park.

“We do not have a formal policy for how to address this request,” Colon said.

For that reason, Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis said he was unsure the county should proceed with the art piece of McNair.

“What I would ask is everyone take a deep breath and have an overall policy,” Ellis said, adding his suggestion “was in no way a criticism of Bob McNair or anybody else.”

While NRG Park is operated by the sports corporation, ultimate control of the county property falls to Commissioners Court.

Ellis said his concern is a public facility should have open, transparent discussions about placing honors to figures on taxpayer land.

“I am not saying you have a referendum on it, but you consider it and be transparent,” Ellis said.

He added that other worthy Houstonians such as Roy Hofheniz and El Franco Lee – who held the commissioner’s seat now held by Ellis for 30 years – should also be part of a discussion about honoring people at NRG Park.

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/McNair-statue-planned-as-permanent-fixture-at-NRG-12285847.php.

I don’t have a problem with Judge Hofheinz and Comm. Lee. The Judge, after all, had the vision of the Dome complex which is a big deal to the region.

Don’t forget former H-Town Mayor Bob Lanier who spearheaded the effort to vote on the baseball and football referendum back in 1996. Without the referendum we might be playing Game 6 at the Dome this Friday and never heard of J.J. Watt.

How about my pal, Drayton McLane, Jr.? Look how his leadership and vision has transformed Downtown H-Town? We have statues for Baseball Hall of Famers Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell at The Yard. Drayton is certainly worthy.

Before we get too carried away with statues for white dudes, how about one for former H-Town Mayors Kathy Whitmire and Lee Brown, or do they already have one?

Former H-Town City Controller Leonel Castillo has a community center. How about adding a statue? He was certainly a pioneer in Latino politics. We have a statue in the Northside of a vaquero waving a gun. How about one for Lone?

How about one for Ninfa Laurenzo on the Navigation Boulevard Esplanade? Ninfa was a pioneer in the Tex-Mex food scene which is now huge in H-Town.  She was certainly an “original.”

Do we have statues in H-Town for Mickey Leland and Barbara Jordan?

Like Commentary said, I don’t have a problem with the Texans owner getting a statue, but let’s start diversifying our community of statues.

The ‘Stros lost Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS against the Mets, 7-6 in 16 innings and were eliminated, we lost Game 6 of the 2004 NLCS against San Luis, 6-4 in 12 innings and were eliminated in Game 7 the next day, we won Game 6 of the 2005 NLCS against San Luis, 5-1 and clinched our first and only trip to the World Serious.

Commentary is not going to second guess the Skipper’s bullpen moves yesterday. I will instead direct my energy toward a win with Dallas Keuchel on the mound.

Game 5 starts at 4 pm today.

Game 6 starts at 7 pm Friday.

Go Astros!

Never Mind?

Have we ever been up 2 games to 1 in a 7 game LCS?

What’s going on here? Why the change?   Commentary thought everything was set. Here is the Chron headline online on a story by Mike Morris:

Turner seeks to keep current property tax rate despite rev cap

Here is how the story starts:

Mayor Sylvester Turner plans to ask city council on Wednesday to sidestep the voter-imposed revenue cap by approving the same property tax rate as last year.

According to City Controller Chris Brown, the city would need to cut the property tax rate by about one fifth of one cent to comply with the revenue cap. The difference would mean about $7 next year to the average Houston homeowner, but the potential political damage to Turner could be much more.

Council must set the tax rate at its Wednesday meeting, but no specific rate was listed on the council agenda and no explanatory backup material was provided to council members until Monday night. Several council members, informed of Brown’s Monday afternoon memo outlining the mayor’s plan, responded with an incredulous, “What?”

The information angered the mayor’s critics and confused his allies on the council a week before voters begin heading to the polls to consider a crucial $1 billion bond that would cement Turner’s landmark pension reforms and another $495 million in city improvement bonds.

To comply with the revenue cap, Brown said, the council would need to set the tax rate at 58.421 cents per $100 of assessed value, not leave it at last year’s 58.642 cents. The difference to the city general fund, he estimated, is $7.9 million.

“I’d love to think of it as a misunderstanding,” Councilman David Robinson said. “Conspicuously on the agenda today it was not disclosed, so it certainly raised a lot of questions. Call it, what – $8 million? It sounds like a very small amount to have a standoff about.”

Turner had proposed a temporary 9 percent property tax rate hike to cover Hurricane Harvey-related costs, then cut that proposal in half when the federal government agreed to cover a larger share of expenses. He then scrapped it entirely late last month after Gov. Greg Abbott provided $50 million in state disaster funds.

The city would “continue to operate under the rev cap,” the mayor said at the time, referring to the 13-year-old, voter-imposed rule that limits what the city can collect in property taxes. Rising property values have forced City Council to cut the tax rate every year since 2014 to avoid collecting more revenue than the cap allows.

The mayor’s proposed rate increase was possible because Harvey placed the city under a federal disaster declaration, and would by law last only one year. Turner’s spokesman Alan Bernstein said Monday afternoon that the mayor’s proposal to leave the rate flat did not rely on invoking the disaster declaration language, but hours later acknowledged that clause is the basis for keeping the same rate.

“The mayor clearly said at this meeting, the press conference with the governor and everybody, ‘We are not going to be invoking the disaster clause,'” Brown said late Monday. “So, now they’re saying they’re going to do it. OK, they can do that. My opposition is not if they do it or don’t, my opposition is that they do it and nobody knows about it.”

Here is the entire Morris read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/Turner-seeks-to-keep-current-property-tax-rate-12282925.php.

I guess H-Town City Hall has an explanation but it is still going to look bad. Do they really need this headache? They are just letting folks call them flip floppers, fibbers, going back on your word – you get the picture. They made a big deal about staying on course when Gov. Greg Abbott handed over the $50 million check.   Like I said. I hope they have an explanation because right now it looks like it ain’t worth it.

The Chron E-Board is making some serious accusations against the HISD Superintendent today on the suspension of the Furr High School principal. Here is part of today’s E-Board take:

After an outcry from students and parents, Houston ISD Superintendent Richard Carranza announced that investigators are now looking into a second set of “pretty serious” misconduct allegations.

In all likelihood, the district is combing through (Bertie) Simmons’ emails and interviewing teachers and others searching for an impropriety. “Show me the man, and I’ll find you the crime” is a tactic used in Stalinist Russia. All HISD employees must now be watching their backs.

There’s no other way to put this. This decision smells of political meddling. And this is the wrong time for the board of trustees to be engaged in that.

Here is the entire take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Furr-flap-12282434.php?utm_campaign=btfpm.

“Stalinist Russia!” Pretty strong words if you ask me. I don’t know if I would say that or go there.

This is what the H-Town region leaders, mostly past, got wrong. Sprawl to the wall.   Commentary is talking about highways and freeways over a genuine mass transit system. Now it looks like it could impact the Amazon deal. Here is from the Chron:

The nationwide bidding war for Amazon’s second headquarters has Houston leaders pitching the city as a diverse and dynamic marketplace, one with big industrial players and an emerging tech sector – the perfect place to plant seeds for new technological breakthroughs.

But a new report says Houston would rank low on Amazon’s wish list. The city came in at No. 52 among the major U.S. metro areas vying for the Seattle tech giant’s $5 billion campus, according to an analysis by economics research firm Moody’s Analytics, which examined the various things Amazon wants in a new hometown.

Houston is just one in the scores of U.S. cities cobbling together rival proposals to lure Amazon’s 50,000 new employees and a sprawling 8-million-square-foot development. On the list of places Amazon should go, Austin ranked No. 1, with its rapid job growth, crop of technology companies and the promise of cushy Texas incentive packages. Dallas was No. 37.

But Houston ranked low in two key areas that Amazon wants – transportation and quality of life. Census data compiled by Moody’s Analytics showed only 2 percent of the local population takes public transportation to work. Only 1 percent walk to work.

Compare that to Philadelphia, where almost a quarter of the workforce uses the mass transit system, and 7 percent walk.

“Amazon doesn’t want to build a place with 50,000 parking spots in it,” said Adam Ozimek, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics. “That, possibly more than anything else, is going to rule out Houston. Amazon looks at how people get to work. It’s a big ask.”

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Houston-ranks-No-52-12281540.php.

That “50,000 parking spots” phrase is a deal killer.

That’s what we get when our unwritten policy has been moving cars and not people and we don’t even do a good job moving cars. When will we ever learn?

Commentary attended the Children at Risk HISD Board of Trustees Candidate Debate yesterday evening at Lamar High School.   One of the candidates criticized the amount of money some candidates had raised. Of course, this candidate had only reported raising like a little over $1,000. How does he think candidates are supposed to communicate with voters? Mail isn’t cheap.

Maybe about 125 folks in all showed up. It ended at about the bottom of the first inning.

In the 2005 NLCS, the ‘Stros were up 2-1 after 3 games.

Last night’s loss was ugly. There is no other way to describe the drubbing.

Game 4 is at 4 pm today.

Game 5 is at 4 pm tomorrow.

Early Vote Next Week

Early Voting in Person starts next Monday here locally. We have state constitutional amendments, H-Town city bonds, and HISD and HCC trustee races.   Your guess is as good as anyone’s as to who will turn out to vote.

Sone folks say only the “hard core” voters will show up to vote. What is a hard core voter? Someone like Commentary who has not missed an election in like forever? Someone who hasn’t missed an election in the past 10 years? 5 years?

Who even knows that there is an election? Folks who read the Chron? Folks who read their campaign mailers? Folks who pay attention to campaign yard signs? City of H-Town employees?

We will start finding out next Monday.

Name the teams that the ‘Stros have eliminated in MLB playoff history?

Commentary thinks we are catching some good breaks in our playoff run.   Two years ago, the opposing catcher makes the catch and tags out Jose Altuve and we go into extra innings and lose. Altuve is out if Gary Sanchez holds on to the ball Saturday. Who would have thought that the Yankees would beat Cleveland in three straight and we win the ALCS home field advantage? Marwin Gonzalez’s and Josh Reddick’s throws Friday and Saturday. We are catching some breaks. It is about time.

The ‘Stros eliminated The ATL in the 2004 and 2005 NLDS, San Luis in the 2005 NLCS, the Yankees in the 2015 Wild Card game, and Boston in the 2017 ALDS of course.

Commentary snagged a foul ball at Saturday’s game.

Game 3 starts at 7 pm this evening.

Game 4 starts at 4 pm tomorrow.

The Roof Factor

Just baseball today.

Of the players still in the MLB playoffs, who has the most career post season dingers – too easy?

Having a closed roof at The Yard during Games 3 and 4 of the 2005 World Serious would have changed the outcomes of the games. I know. We lost Game 3 in 14 innings 7-5 and Game 4 1-0. I argue we would have won both. It is called the home field advantage. As I recall, San Luis skipper Tony La Russa had complained to the media that the crowd cheering in a closed roof gave the ‘Stros an unfair advantage. Then Commissioner Bud Selig stepped in an ordered the roof open. One game started at 61 degrees and the other at 65 degrees and it got colder throughout the night. Heck, at one of the games I took my jacket and it was pretty cold. That’s why Bud Selig has arsehole status among a ton of ‘Stros fans. Deservedly so, may I add.

Having a closed roof guarantees fan comfort – period. If that gives us an advantage, so be it. If our opponents object, they can go add a roof to their crib.

I guess this is a first. Pretty cool.

Brian McTaggart‏Verified account @brianmctaggart 8h8 hours ago

 

America’s four largest cities are represented in the NLCS & ALCS. 1. New York 2. Los Angeles 3. Chicago 4. Houston

Also from Tags:

HOUSTON — The Astros said Thursday the retractable roof at Minute Maid Park would be closed for Friday’s Game 1 and Saturday’s Game 2 of the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World against the Yankees. The roof was closed for both home games of the AL Division Series presented by Doosan against Red Sox — both of which were day games — and for all but 14 regular-season games.

The Astros’ policy is to close the roof if there’s a threat of rain, a threat of excessive wind (above 30 mph), a heat index of about 88 degrees for a night game or if the temperature is below 65 degrees. It takes two to three hours to cool the ballpark once the roof is closed, which plays into the decision.

Major League Baseball has the final say over the roof during the postseason, and the Astros got the approval Thursday to close the roof based on the policy they’ve had in place. High temperatures in Houston are expected to be in the lower 90s on Friday and Saturday.

Section 11.7 of the MLB postseason manual states the Commissioner or a designated representative shall determine whether a ballpark’s retractable roof shall remain open or closed before and during any postseason game.

“The environment’s going to be crazy,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “The people here are hungry for baseball. They have been passionate about this team. This is an easy team to fall in love with. It’s been that way since the beginning of the season. Roof closed can be pretty hot — that’s a nice temperature outside to where you can close this roof and get pretty loud. So bring your earplugs. Be ready. It’s a pretty loud environment.”

Let’s hope we continue to have unseasonably warmer weather at least while we are hosting the games.

Our own Carlos Beltran of course leads all current MLB playoff players with 16 career post season dingers.  He hit 8 of them with us in the 2004 NLDS and NLCS.

My advice to those attending Games 1 and 2, figure out how to take the Metro Rail.

Go Astros!